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Colombia: fear for safety: Gloria Florez, Fernando Gonzalez, Pedro J Rey and other members of MINGA human rights organization

, Index number: AMR 23/052/1995

There is grave concern for the safety of members of the non-governmental human rights organization MINGA, after a telephoned death threat was received at its headquarters on 18 August 1995. The threat comes shortly after the three people named above were detained by members of the Anti-Kidnapping and Extortion Unit (UNASE) on 4 August 1995 in Aguachica, department of Cesar. The three were later released after several hours.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 23/52/95
UA 204/95 Fear for Safety 21 August 1995
COLOMBIA Gloria FLÓREZ (f)
Fernando GONZÁLEZ
Pedro J. REY
and other members of MINGA human rights organization
There is serious concern for the safety of members of the non-governmental
human rights organization MINGA, after a telephoned death threat was received
at its headquarters in Bogotá.
The threat was made on 18 August 1995 at 1:50pm by an unidentified woman who
said "se van a morir hijueputas." - "you are going to die sons-of-bitches."
The death threat comes shortly after three people from the MINGA office in
Bogotá, Gloria Flórez, Fernando González and Pedro J.Rey, were detained by
members of the Unidad Anti-secuestro y Extorsión (UNASE), Anti-kidnapping and
Extortion Unit, on 4 August 1995, in Aguachica, department of Cesar. Without
explaining the reasons why, UNASE agents took the three human rights activists
back to UNASE headquarters, where they demanded to see their identity documents
in order to ascertain whether they had a criminal record. The three were
released after several hours.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Despite President Samper's repeated pledges of his government's commitment
to protect human rights and tackle impunity, members of the Colombian armed
and security forces, together with their paramilitary allies, continue to commit
serious violations with virtual impunity. Trade unionists, popular leaders,
civic activists and human rights workers are amongst those frequently targeted.
Only in exceptional circumstances are perpetrators brought to justice; the
vast majority of members of the armed forces responsible for gross human rights
violations remain in active service.
Human rights lawyers and members of human rights organizations are increasingly
at risk in Colombia, despite presidential promises to ensure their safety.
On 9 September 1994, President Samper declared in a speech that his government
"would seek to have constructive relations with human rights organizations
with the aim of suppressing human rights violations and would do everything
necessary to protect the lives and the integrity of their members" ("Buscará
sostener con los organismos de derechos humanos relaciones constructivas en
procura de suprimir las violaciones de tales derechos y pondrá de su parte
cuanto sea necesario para proteger la vida y la integridad de sus miembros").
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in SPANISH or your own language:
- express concern at the reported death threat of 18 August 1995 against members
of MINGA;
- calling for an immediate and thorough investigation into the threat, the
results of which should be made public and those responsible brought to justice;
- urging that in line with President Samper's declared commitment to protect
the lives of human rights defenders, all possible measures, deemed appropriate
by those working with MINGA, be taken to protect them.
APPEALS TO:
2
1. President of Colombia:
Señor Presidente Ernesto Samper Pizano
Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: President Samper Pizano, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes: 44281 PALP CO
Faxes: + 57 1 289 3377/286 7434
Salutation:Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente/Dear President Samper
2. Minister of Defence
Dr. Juan Carlos Esguerra
Ministro de Defensa Nacional
Ministerio de Defensa Nacional
Avenida Eldorado CAN - Carrera 52
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:Ministro de Defensa, Bogota, Colombia
Telexes:42411 INPRE CO; 44561 CFAC CO
Faxes:+ 57 1 222 1874
Salutation: Sr. Ministro/Dear Minister
3. Attorney General
Dr. Alfonso Valdivieso Sarmiento
Fiscal General de la Nación
Fiscalia General de la Nación
Apartado Aéreo 29855
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:Fiscal General Valdivieso, Fiscalia General, Bogotá, Colombia
Faxes:+ 57 1 288 2828 or 245 5292 or 287 0939
Salutation: Estimado Dr. Valdivieso/Dear Dr. Valdivieso
COPIES TO:
MINGA
AA 40303
Santafé de Bogotá
Colombia
and to diplomatic representatives of Colombia accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your Section office, if sending appeals after 12 October 1995.

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